Retired Army general from South Cotabato who started as private passes away

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 28 July) – Retired Maj. Gen. Agustin Dema-ala – a bemedaled, battle-hardened Army officer in Mindanao who rose from the rank of private – passed away due to illness.

Former Maj. Gen. Agustin Dema-ala. From the Facebook page of Haide Lacdo-o

He was 70.

Dema-ala, who was suffering from a liver ailment, died at a hospital in Davao City late Tuesday afternoon.

He mostly fought the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the dreaded kidnap-for-ransom Pentagon Gang in Central Mindanao, and the Abu Sayyaf Group during his colorful military stint.

Before retiring in 2006, Dema-ala was the commander of the 6th Infantry “Kampilan” Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, the stronghold of the MILF.

He also served as chief of the Joint Task Force Jolo in the island-province of Sulu, a known bailiwick of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Dema-ala, a native of South Cotabato, entered the Philippine Army through the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

After retiring from military service, he forayed into politics and became a board member of South Cotabato for three terms.

Haide Lacdo-o, a sister of Dema-ala, said the late military general had fulfilled his dreams for his family and the organizations he was involved with.

“Your loss was so painful but it’s time to let you go and be with our creator,” she said. “Thank you for serving South Cotabato province and our country.”

South Cotabato Vice Governor Vicente de Jesus said the province lost a good leader with the passing of Dema-ala, fondly called “Noy Toting” or “Ting” by family members and close friends.

“Rest in paradise now, Gen. Ting!” De Jesus said, expressing his condolences to the family of the late military general.

Dema-ala was survived by his wife Imelda and children Eric, Louie, Jay and Karen, and their grandchildren.

His sons are currently serving as officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Eric and Louie) and the Philippine National Police (Jay).

At the time of his demise, Dema-ala was the anti-drug czar of this city. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)